The concept of hitting 10,000 steps a day has been around for decades and is now one of the most well-known public health messages out there.
This common guideline was born in 1965 when a Japanese company created a device named Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.” You’d assume that this figure would have come from years of scientific research, wouldn’t you? Well, not so. The name was essentially a marketing tool, but it has since proven the test of time with consequent studies primarily finding that 10,000 steps a day is definitely better for your health than doing nothing at all!
Regardless of its origin, the more we move our bodies the better, and if 10,000 steps a day is the magic number that we work towards achieving on our fitness trackers then let’s go with that!
What Are The Health Benefits?
Stepping out on a 30-minute walk each day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
And it’s not just your body that benefits – the way you think and feel changes too. Moderate exercise such as walking can put you in a better mood, improve concentration, and help manage and soothe anxiety and stress.
Walking is great for almost everyone including pregnant women, the elderly or people who hate high-intensity workouts. The best part is it’s free, and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Ways To Reach Your Steps:
Less than one in five Australian adults reach the 10,000 steps benchmark each day. If you’re desk bound for most of the day and sedentary for most of the night, this target can seem difficult to reach. If you’re struggling to inject enough movement into your day, here are a few easy and effective ways to hit 10,000 steps:
Track Your Steps
Regularly using a step tracker will not only help count the number of steps you are taking, it will also help you stay accountable. Realising you’ve only clocked up 2,000 steps for the day and it’s already 3pm might provide that extra motivation you need to go on an afternoon walk and get your body moving.
Walk and Talk
Whether you’re chatting to a friend or are on a work call, put your headphones in and take your chat outside. The same goes for meetings with your colleagues – skip the conference room and have a walking meeting instead!
Park Further Away
Every few hundred steps of walking to or from your car adds up quickly. Whether it’s parking at the back of the carpark at work, an extra block away from the train station or a few extra minutes away from your coffee shop, every little bit counts.
Take the Stairs
At work, the shopping centre, or the train station – take the stairs instead of the elevator and score both steps and flights on your fitness tracker.
Walk to Your Colleagues Desk
How many times have you sent an email to your work colleague whose desk is only a short walk away? We’ve all been guilty of doing this! But next time, get up and walk instead of sending an email.
Go on an Active Date
The next time you’re planning a catch up with a friend or partner, make it an active date. It could be as simple as a walk around the block or a stroll to a café, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for a hike or try a new fitness class.
Take a Moving Break
Lunch breaks at work are the perfect time to get your body moving – especially if you feel like you’ve been deskbound for most of the morning. Get outside, soak up some vitamin D and get your step count up. As an added bonus, it will help lift your mood and productivity levels in the afternoon too.
Just in case you needed some extra motivation to do your chores, here it is!
Take Extra Trips
When unloading grocery bags from the car or carrying laundry to the bedroom, it’s tempting to try to take as few trips as possible. Instead, try taking one more trip than you absolutely have to.
Create a Step Challenge with Friends/Family
Who doesn’t love a fitness challenge?! Get your competitive juices flowing and create a competition with your friends, family or partner and see who can get the most steps in a day, week or month.